My daughter Lindsey and I recently received a reader question through the U.S. News & World Report site where we wrote a blog for two years.
The question is a common one so I wanted to share it here. Here’s what the reader wrote:
My daughter is not going to a school for a certain program & is currently undecided on a major. Great GPA, not so great ACT scores, participated in service projects, cheer & leadership roles in highschool. Scholarships that I’ve viewed on her college prep webpage are so specific & unrelated to her…I don’t know where to go. Any advice/support is appreciated.
And here is Lindsey’s reply:
I used several websites - FastWeb.com, Zinch.com and Cappex.com - to find a TON of scholarships. You’re right, some were very specific and unrelated to me, but a lot were more generalized. I would also recommend looking at the specific school/schools she wants to attend, parents’ employers, specific leadership/cheer/service scholarships, etc. It can be difficult to find scholarships if you’re more of a general high-achiever instead of a highly specialized student, but hopefully those suggestions will help!
I thought Lindsey’s answer was spot on. And I’ll also add that the bulk of Lindsey’s scholarships came from her college in some way, either through a general university scholarship, or scholarships from her major, sorority, etc. That’s not to say that outside scholarships aren’t worth pursuing; this was just our experience.
For good reading on paying for college, I always suggest Ben Kaplan’s How to Go to College Almost for Free (great for a scholarship approach) and Zac Bissonette’s Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents (a more overall approach).
And I’m also happy to announce that U.S. News has put out a new guide on paying for college for which Lindsey and I were contributors. You can see the different chapters included by using the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon.
Do you have anything to add to our response to the reader’s question?